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The amorphous and self-serving process of applying principles developed by courts to interpret statutes. Modernly this legal area is divided into three sections. The textualists emphasize the words used in the statute and look to the bargaining nature of the legislative process with the only agreed to item being the final text of the statute. The purposivists or intentionalists emphasize what the legislature was trying to do when it passed the statute and the public issues that provided the reason for the legislation in the first instance. The third group looks to the meaning that will produce the best practical result. All involved claim to be faithful to the statute and the legislature who has passed it. They are all convenient excuses to legislate from the bench.


When a court interprets a statute, the purpose is to give effect to the legislative intent. To accomplish this courts begin with the statutory language, which is the most persuasive evidence of the statutory purpose. See United States v. Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc., 310 U.S. 534, 542-543, 60 S. Ct. 1059, 84 L. Ed. 1345 (1940). The words of the statute should be construed in their 'ordinary, everyday', and plain ...

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